Clive Palmer’s plan to “solve” the debate about changing the definition of marriage fails to acknowledge that it is not just church’s beliefs that need protection.

Australian Christian Lobby Managing Director Lyle Shelton said individuals, business owners, ethnic communities, and Christian and Muslim schools also had beliefs that could fall foul of anti-discrimination law if marriage was redefined in law.

“It’s great to see Clive offering ideas and it is good to see that he recognises that churches, mosques and other places of worship will lose the freedom to practice millennia-old beliefs about marriage unless protections are granted.

“But Clive needs to realise that many groups and individuals besides churches will lose their freedom to act in accordance with their beliefs if same-sex marriage is legislated.

“He also fails to recognise the rights of children who will be required to miss out on a mother or a father to fulfil the wishes of adults. .

“International law confirms that marriage is a compound right to found and form a family. Two men can only achieve this right of ‘marriage equality’ if the states unblock access to commercial surrogacy.”

Mr Shelton said any couple, gay or straight, could effectively obtain a civil union through state-based relationship registers which have granted equality under the law for years.

“Equality, even in cases of next of kin arrangements, occurred in Australia years ago. But changing the definition of marriage in law takes away the freedoms of Australians who will always believe in man-woman marriage.

“Changing the definition of marriage also takes away the rights of children to know and be loved by their biological parents wherever possible.”

Mr Shelton said the best way to settle the marriage debate was through the Turnbull Government’s promised plebiscite on marriage due to be held after the 2016 election.

“This gives time for all Australians to think through the consequences of changing the definition of marriage.”